Nemesis, NoBloPoMo, Stories...

Nemesis… Chapter 1 (Day 1)

It is All Hallow’s Eve…Halloween, the night we honor our dead.  With the sun now down, the little ghosts and goblins roam the streets, along with pirates, and princesses, and superheroes galore.  It is a time of extremes: too many sweets, too much laughter, going too far in that Halloween prank; but all of it based on an ancient tradition, where masks were used to scare off those spirits we didn’t want to visit us.

In the old days, we called it Samhain, and we celebrated the turning of the wheel of the year; for this was the last day before the new one began.  It was said that the veils between worlds were thin, that the dead were free to roam.  So we lit fires to guide our ancestors home, carved pumpkins to frighten those unwanted ones away, and offered treats to appease whomever showed up, invited or not…

Rituals were conducted by many this night: to honor the ancestors; release old, unwanted stuff; to contact the Others, wherever they are.  But it was also a night to invoke; and since Invocation is potentially dangerous stuff, it needed to be approached with solemnity and a strong sense of the Sacred, lest you draw to yourself something evil or dark.  For it is always the most restless spirits eager to answer such calls, ones unhappy with where they are.  Not hard to understand, of course.  After all, would you leave “Heaven” to return to Earth, even for a night?  Only with really good cause, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought…

So any rituals performed on this night need to be carefully planned, meticulously enacted, and bound by strong protection protocols.  It is not a night for amateurs and wannabes to try “playing” with this stuff…

I’m no amateur, of course, I’ve done this before, but I recognize the need for caution.  And truthfully, it’s been years since I’ve practiced this Craft, so maybe my experience doesn’t leave me nearly as qualified as I’d wish.  After all, Time steals memories, and smooths out rough edges, making us think we’re more competent than we actually are.  So, as I proceed to gather my things,  choosing my tools with great care, I try to rein in errant thoughts…  Clarity is essential in all magickal works, and never more so than in Invocations like this…

Originally, I planned to invoke my foe, but recent events have caused me to question the wisdom of such an approach.  So it occurs to me, for safety’s sake, perhaps I should reach out to my hero instead.  All things in the Universe seek balance, I think, and calling out my Hero seems a clever way to reach my Foe as well.  For if it is true that Light creates Shadow, then focusing on the brightest will drag out the darkness as well; which grants me an innate protection as bonus, as any true Protagonist would protect his creator, would he not?  Smiling to myself, excitement sneaking in, I begin to set the stage for this upcoming drama…

***     *****     ***

 My altar is set, each item upon it chosen with care and forethought.  Three candles I placed: one white and one black, representing He and She, Light and Dark, Yang and Yin; and one representing Me that is off-white and lilac, scented with jasmine and lavender.  The incense I chose to carry my intentions is Frankincense, bringing clarity to visions and insights, cleansing negativity from a space, and useful in relieving pain.  Upon my altar also is a bowl of salt water, for cleansing and protection, and a small dish of oil for consecrating this work.  There are also 5 stones, each with its own energy to add to my efforts: black kyanite for Power and fullness of reach; clear quartz for Clarity and Focus, and to enhance all other energies; malachite for Balance, and to aid in my journeys, keeping me grounded and safe while I travel this night; blue lace agate for Peace and Serenity, and to ensure that I firmly bond with my Hero tonight; and last, but not least, the rose quartz for Love, for nothing undertaken in the name of Love can go wrong…  Right?

Laying up front is my Athame, a double-edged knife used to direct and focus my magickal intent.  This one is special – made from a sacred scrap of wood found in an enchanted place, carved by my own hand (back when my hands could still create such works of art).  It is smooth, made to fit in my hand, and marked heavily with magickal script.  I have a wand, of course (what good witch doesn’t?), but the Athame is reserved for directing great flows of power; its double-edged blade cuts through any distractions, its fine point directing the energy precisely.

And, at the back of my altar, a mirror, now covered, for this is no time for such magick.  Mirror magick is powerful stuff, opening gateways to places beyond.  And with the veils between worlds already so thin, it would be nearly impossible to control what might get in.  So I’ve covered that mirror with dark cloth to protect myself, and to limit the magick I plan to release…

My cat sits by, waiting, almost eager it seems, for it’s been quite a while since we’ve done this kind of work together.  He was trained in this craft by his predecessor, by far the “best” familiar I have ever met.  Course he taught him to hunt, too, when Shilo was young, until student outdid mentor by catching a squirrel or two.  But my Sylvester was the smartest cat I’ve ever known, and he was experienced in the realm of working magick as well.  He taught the young Shilo what was expected of him, but he never gave up his authority in Circle.  Sadly, though, Sylvester is gone now, leaving Shilo to pick up the reins.  And though I know he is well trained, and eager to help, he has, as yet, little experience in this role.  As I said before, it has been a few years since I did any ritual beyond basic rites of passage and such, and Shilo has never had to carry a circle on his own…  But we have a connection, he and I, and I trust him to do exactly what he was taught; and I know he will know what I need in his heart.  His role here is simple, though not easily done, for it is his job to patrol the edges and between-spaces, to ensure no unwelcome visitors get in.  Cats are unique in their ability to see beyond the veil, and they instinctively react to trespassers from other realms…

Already, he is pacing, as the energy grows, sensing my intentions before they are formed.  I see him now sniffing dark corners, tail flicking to and fro, in warning to those waiting for an invitation to enter.  I cannot help but smile at him, my young dark knight, pure black like the night with his eyes glowing green.  His excitement communicates itself to me in the way his ears shift and scan, and his whiskers tremble and reach.  Yes, he is ready, my companion, for whatever adventures this ritual brings…

And with the stage and the scenery now set, the last thing I must choose is the ritual itself.  What sort of circle should I cast tonight to best capture my desires while protecting myself?  I know from experience that a four-quartered Circle is safest, being grounded and balanced, symmetrical and whole.  But the five-pointed star is more powerful by far, though harder to handle, and more likely to go “wrong.”  If one chooses to work in a Pentagram Circle, one better be focused and clear with intention; any distraction, any stray thought, can send the whole process spinning out of control, so that even the most powerful witches be tested, and quite likely bested, by this magick they conjured themselves!

Why is this, you ask?  Well, it’s quite simple, really.  A four-quartered circle represents Life as it is, for all Life is reflected, on this Earth at least, in twos and fours specifically.  Where two is the duality that births each of us, four represents manifestation and grounding in this Earthly realm.  There are four elements (Fire, Water, Earth and Air), four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), four stages of growth (childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood); there are even four selves within each of us – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  So a four-quartered Circle celebrates Life, and works within the framework of Earthly possibilities.

But the five-pointed star, or Pentagram Circle, works with the energy of Creation itself, for the story of our creation came in five stages, not four.  By casting a Pentagram Circle, you not only remove yourself from the immediacy of Time and Space (as a four-quartered circle does, too), but also by removing yourself from all Earthly restrictions as well.  It is a pattern reserved for the most powerful magicks, and should only be enacted by the most experienced practitioners…

But I’m feeling a little arrogant tonight, and wanting to see some real results; mostly I want this Invocation to succeed.  So, in spite of the years, and the rust on my bones, I think I will call on the Universe itself to fulfill my desires this night…

 ***     *****     ***

Midnight draws near, and time grows short.  For while Samhain begins at sunset and lasts through the night, midnight is the most between time of this between time, when almost anyone can reach through the veil to claim what they most desire.  (Actually, one of the best ways to know if you’re working with an experienced practitioner or a novice is this point, for a new-to-the-Craft witch will celebrate at midnight, while the experienced one knows the real “witching hour” is 12:12; the time when the three of Creation meets the four of Manifestation; doubled to represent mastery of Duality or Form; adding up to a magickal six, representing Community and the shared reality of Consensus…  Ahhh, but now my arrogance is more blinding than the candles I’ve lit, and I can ill afford such mental distractions as this…)

So, rising, I prepare to create the Sacred Space that shall bring my hero to me in physical form…

I move to the North, directly behind my altar, and turn to face South, keeping my whole soon-to-be-realm in sight.  And so the magickal ritual begins…

“In the beginning there was One, and that’s all there could be, for that One included Everything, including Time and Space, and every one and every thing that could ever Be.  So it was inevitable, perhaps, that a moment would come when One suddenly knew that It was alone (All-one).  And in that moment of knowing, awareness was born, giving birth to Nothing, so that One knew what existed outside of Itself, for there was nothing else, anywhere, anytime…  And One was saddened by this revelation…”

“I do not wish to be Al-one,” thought One, “for I have no Other to share things with.”

“So One considered this issue for a time, thus giving birth to Time itself,” I continue, “and Time itself created an idea.”

“If I am Everything,” said One to Itself, “then I can be Anything I choose to be!”

And so, speaking aloud for the first time, One said, “I would be Other.”  So it was…

Slowly I walk to the southwest corner of my sacred space, speaking words as I walk…

“So it was that a spark of the One detached itself, became Other, and Spirit was born.  Spirit once birthed from the One, now existing as Fire – burning hot with all the Desire that One had once felt.”

Reaching the southwest corner, I turn back to face into the circle once more…

“But Fire, as Desire, craved something more, needing form to express itself fully.  So drawing on One’s power of creation, Fire imagined, looked ahead, drew a picture… and birthed that desire, creating something more from his urges and needs.”

Slowly I walk toward the northeast portion of my sacred space, feeling the energy of Fire fueling me…

“And so it was that a Body was formed to house the desire of Fire. And Earth rose to meet that challenge, a solid reflection of Fire’s violent but beautiful work.”

Reaching the northeast arc of my circle-to-be, I turn inward once more, facing directly opposite me.  The  northwest arc is calling me forth with more urgency now that I have a form…

“And this Body, now driven by Fire’s urgent need, starts looking for ways to satisfy as other, and Consciousness slowly wakens from this clashing of opposites, awareness of boundaries and mergings both.”

More quickly I pace out the path across, focusing directly on the point ahead of me…

“And so Mind was created, and the energy of Air; as flickering and unpredictable as Fire, as tangible as Earth Herself.”

Reaching the northwest arc, I turn inward once more, my eyes and my focus moving southeast, toward the gaping hole in this creation I’ve formed. My cat is growing restless now, as the energy rises, aware that it’s going to be peaking quite soon.  His vigilance is admirable, and I feel much safer, knowing he’s working this Circle so well.

“But with Consciousness came Awareness, and Awareness birthed something else, as yet undefined by the Mind.”

“This isn’t a thought,” thought the Mind to itself, “for it is slippery, and unfocused, and uncomfortable as…”

Slowly, contemplating each step I take, I move toward the southeast arc of my sacred space…

“I have no words to describe what I feel,” says the Mind to the Body and the Spirit that is Fire…

“Because I am Feeling,” whispers Water in a rush, as the Heart rises from the Earth and Mind and Fire.

And, reaching that southeast arc, I turn inward once more, addressing the others before me…

“I am the culmination of all of you three; for I burn with desire, create easily; Fire is my Father, you see.  And I manifest quite obviously, since Earth is my Mother, and so close to me.  I have my own intelligence, different than my brother’s, but, like Air, I have a logic of my own to share.  And what I desire most in this moment right now, is to feel reconnected to the One that is us.  For I feel love, and I am drawn to it, and so I must find a way home for All of us…”

And with that I begin the long trek back north, connecting at last with the Source.  Complete now, I begin to map out the circle that encompasses All elements and their various influences, moving clockwise around the circle…

“And so it was that One created Life, Life that formed first as Spirit, manifested into Form, so that Form created Consciousness, and Consciousness led to Feeling, and it was Feeling itself who led us back home.  All joined as one in this dance of creation, and this sacred space now capturing and enclosing that process…”

I return to the center now, take my seat, trembling with the energy flowing around and through me.  I hadn’t expected so much power to rise, as usually it is much milder than this.  My own reaction is mirrored by Shilo, who frantically paces around the circle, seemingly overwhelmed by what he is seeing, not sure where to start, or what to do with this mega-force I’ve created.  And all around us (I feel them, too) are Nameless Ones eager to enter our world..

“What have I done here?” I ask myself.  “Am I really prepared to handle this stuff?”

But it’s too late to back out now, I remind myself.  “I generated this, so it is my responsibility to focus it somehow…”

I reach for my Athame, needing both its comfort and its focus, as I can feel my concentration slipping.  Now would not be a good time to give in to fear, as it would likely derail the entire process, creating something other than I’d originally intended.  So I force my thoughts into line, closing my eyes, drawing up an image of him…

He has longish dark hair, and wise emerald eyes, and there was a time I once called him Friend.  But not here, and not now, not recently at all; it has been lifetimes since we joined in the same time and space.  But I remember him still, and the influence he wields over me, and all those who have tried to draw near me.  We do not incarnate together, he and I, because I cannot concentrate when he is around.  But I love him and need him now; more importantly I trust him, and I know that he will protect me, whatever might happen…

I reach for him now through the veils before me, and sense him turning at last to greet me.  A gentle smile plays about his lips as he recognizes me…  And a question forms in his eyes…

“Come now, my lost love, come through the veil.  I have created this gateway for you.  I need you here, in my time, in my world; my heart and intentions are true…  Come now, dear one, and join me, for we have work to do…”

And with that last thought, I reach my hand through the fragile space between us, and sense his actions mirroring mine.  As our hands draw nigh to one another, I feel his warmth beginning to seep in, and I realize just how cold I have been.  But he is pure Fire and Air to my Water and Earth; perfect opposites, in perfect balance, two sides of a whole in service to One.  Our hands meet at the barrier, palms up to connect, and it is then that I realize there is no barrier at all.  I feel the palm of his hand touch mine (for real!) and I know that this ritual has accomplished even more than I had ever dared to hope it could.  As his flesh and mine make contact at last, I am shaken to my core, moved by a joy too vast to be contained by my fragile heart…

And suddenly it shatters, this poor excuse for a heart, into a thousand shards of glass…

“No, wait..!,” I think loudly to myself, shouting within to be heard over the sound of breaking glass.  “This isn’t right at all…  Why would my heart be breaking now?”

My eyes fly open to discover…

Disaster has struck in this world!

“Oh no, Shilo!,” I cry, “what have you done?!”  All around me, exploded, in pieces and parts, is the mirror that once sat in front of me, safely covered before this ritual began.  My cat, it appears, in his enthusiasm tonight, has chased something directly into that mirror before me, or perhaps he was merely trying to keep something from getting out.  In any event, he has knocked it down, and now it lies broken around me.  Each small piece of glass bears a clear reflection of something, but I cannot quite puzzle it out.  And fear grabs hold as I realize the significance of this devastation around me…  For not only have I lost my concentration, and released my magick prematurely, but the mirror itself is exposed, leaving now thousands of tiny gateways for anything wishing to enter our world to come through!

Slowly… Painfully… I rise, and go in search of my broom.  Every witch has one, you know, and they are consecrated to clean up messes like this.  Though I doubt my broom has enough magic left to handle a cat-astrophe of this magnitude.  Still, I must try, for there is nothing else that I can do…

***     *****     ***

It is late now, and I have done all that I know how to do.  I have contained the wild magick as best I can, though I am certain that much got away.  And I have absolutely no idea how that might manifest now, for my thoughts were scattered as the mirror shattered, and fear took hold of my soul…

I cannot help but laugh at myself now, as a thought occurs to me…

“And this is why, dear children, you should never approach magick from a place of arrogance and selfish desire…”

***     *****     ***

(to be continued)

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4 thoughts on “Nemesis… Chapter 1 (Day 1)

  1. This is fascinating and beautifully written. I look forward to more.

    I always carry with me, in a pouch, two crystals of amethyst for protection, selflessness, nobleness, spiritual consciousness, meditativeness, balance and inner peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, Taara, you are too kind. I know we are interested in similar things because you sucked me in right away the first time I read your work. And honestly, you don’t lack a thing! I always smile when I see you’ve posted something new. I’m a fan! 🙂

      Like

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